Daisy Mountain is a well-known peak north of Phoenix, in the unincorporated community of Anthem. The summit of this small set of peaks rises to 3,176 feet, and is a statistical dead-heat between the north ("flag") and south summits. An excellent trail forms a loop hike that covers both summits, but its location within a new suburb staunches the flow of visitors to a manageable few. (In other words, there is little parking ... see below)
The peaks are set amid mid-elevation desert, with cholla and ocotillo. Summer gets very hot, while Fall through Spring can be nice (possibly warm).
From Phoenix, go north on Interstate-17 to the Anthem Way exit (not the Daisy Mountain Exit). This is about 25 miles north of downtown. Go east on Anthem Way about a quarter-mile, and then left (north) on the "Frontage" road, also signed as Navigation Way. Drive north on Navigation Way into suburbia, maybe a mile total.
Parking is an issue as there is no formal parking for hikers. Most people park near the corner of Navigation and National Trail, near a small park. The trailhead is at a bend where Navigation turns into Livingstone Way.
Do not park on Navigation Way, and do not park in front of someone's home. Use judgement here. I cannot vouch that this is legal. It appears to be "accepted practice".
North Summit Approach
The parking issue is one factor to consider.
The peak is on State Trust Land. One normally needs a permit (go here
for more information). No one checks. Use your judgement.
No camping allowed. This is suburbia.
My trip report:
12/17/11 and 1/1/12, www.surgent.net
Enter onto the trail and follow it north. It will eventually bend northeast. You can see a toothy peak ahead - this is Gavilan Peak. The first major Y-junction you come to, stay right. A left goes to an overlook near Gavilan. Stay right at another Y-junction a little later on.
You ascend a gentle slope then drop into a drainage, then ascend again, now below Daisy itself. You'll come to a 4x4 wooden post. To here you've covered about a mile and a half, and gained maybe 300 feet.
At the post, choose your direction. A left loops around to catch a saddle, an old road, and more trail to the north summit, on which a big flag stands. A right leads up to the south ridges and to the south summit. I suggest go left, hit the north summit, drop and gain to the south summit, and then follow the trail out back to the post.
The two summits are nearly identical in height. My rudimentary sight-leveling suggests (to me, at least) that the south summit might
be higher by a foot or two. But hit them both as it's worth the fun.
North summit from south summit